Scott Price has seen a lot of lows in his 10 years as a Tazewell County deputy coroner.

The opportunity to help lift grieving families is among the reasons he's running for the top job.

"I realize there's a lot I can do after someone passes, to help the family through the process," Price said Monday. "I've really enjoyed the help I've been able to give the community."

The 41-year-old Pekin resident is the first declared candidate for coroner in the 2018 election. The office is to become vacant next March, when incumbent Jeff Baldi is to resign.

During its meeting Wednesday night, the County Board is to consider Baldi's resignation.

First elected in 2012, Baldi plans to depart midway through his second four-year term. Whoever wins the 2018 race would be in line to serve the final two years of that term.

The main job for Price, a Republican, is with a firm that provides executive security for Caterpillar Inc. He also is a police officer in Green Valley. His duties with the coroner's office, for which he is among about a half-dozen deputies, include being on call overnights.

"I sleep when I can," said Price, who with his wife, Michelle, has four children between the ages of 3 and 12.

Price also is vice president of the Pekin Park District Board of Commissioners, to which he was elected in 2015.

Baldi is the third coroner under whom Price has served. Dennis Conover appointed him. After Conover retired, deputy Carl Powell was elevated to replace him. Baldi defeated Powell in the 2012 GOP primary.

Price said he'd likely continue many of Baldi's policies. The deputy did say he might in a limited form reinstate public inquests, which Baldi abolished.

In an inquest, a coroner’s jury hears evidence in accidents, homicides and other cases to determine a cause of death.

"I was a little surprised when we eliminated them," Price said. "I do see and understand why Dr. Baldi does what he does, but I believe in certain cases, it's wise do to an inquest."

It appears Price has become wiser in the decade he's been dealing directly with death.

"I was 31 years old when I was hired, and I learned real quickly about compassion," he said. "It's hard when you walk into a room and you've never met a family of someone who's deceased and show you genuinely care.

"It's left a mark on me, but I think it makes me beter at what I do, to help the next person I deal with."